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Things You Better Know Before You Go Whitewater Kayaking

When talking about the sport of whitewater kayaking, to make a statement that is merely taking a paddle, in a kayak and going down or up stream, is a serious understatement. Kayaking is both dangerous and challenging, especially whitewater kayaking.

So what exactly is a Kayak? It is a boat that is both long and thin, the hull is either v-shaped or rounded. In the middle of the boat, there is a seat specifically for the kayaker. Additionally, a skirt is fastened snuggly around the waste of the kayaker to prevent water from getting into the kayak, this skirt is waterproof. Kayaks come in many different lengths starting at 6 foot and to 12 feet. Kayaks are generally made of a sturdy and durable plastic that is damage resistant if the kayak should hit any sharp and jagged rocks while in the rapids.

The kayak paddles is just as unique. It is a paddle with double blades, this allows the kayaker to alternate sides when paddling repeatedly, as the sport of kayaking dictates. This is very much like the paddles you see with rowboats, as they come with two oars instead of one and they are both used at the same time.

When it comes to whitewater kayaking there are four different categories:


Playboating is something many kayakers enjoy because it calls for a variety of different moves that are almost gymnastic like. Some moves include looping, cartwheeling, spinning, and surfing. Playboaters used specialized kayaks for this sport. These are used in the “whitewater rodeo”, a playboating competition.

Slalom is kayak racing with precision. There is a racecourse specifically designed for the slalom event and has gates that the kayaker must pass through in a predetermined order. Again, Slalom kayakers have specifically made boats solely used in the events. These come in a variety of different sizes and are constructed with carbon fibers and fiberglass. These materials create a faster and sleeker kayak for racing.

Riverrrunning, is quite dangerous and challenging. Generally only expert kayakers take part in this type of event. The event consists of paddling down a calm, serene area of the river, then an obstacle course that is contained in harsh, unforgiving rapids and sometimes over a waterfall or two.

Creeking is an extreme kayaking sport, it is even worse than riverrunning. This is only for the experienced kayakers and those that want the ultimate extreme event. It is extremely dangerous and occurs in some of the roughest and most unfriendly rivers you could imagine.

Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about kayaking and get Sea Kayaks at